Public Lands from East to West

By Allie D’Andrea, Artemis Co-founder

Growing up in western Pennsylvania, “public land hunting” was a dirty word. It meant less opportunity, more competition, and frankly, that you were too poor to own your own property or lease prime hunting land for the season. I never thought much about how public land came to be or who managed it; All I knew was hunting on public land was a good way to get your tree stand stolen.

I moved to south central Idaho in the fall of 2015 to pursue a job opportunity with the hunting apparel company, First Lite, and my views on public land were turned upside down. In a state so rich with public land access and hunting opportunities, the notion of hunting anywhere but public land was seemingly foolish. I started hiking trails, then hiking off the trails and eventually mustered up the courage to sleep in the backcountry with nothing more than myself and the gear I carried in. Through this, I experienced the most intense sensation of solitude. The kind of solitude one longs for…utter peace. I discovered a connection to our earth and the wild game I was pursuing that forever changed the way I value public lands.

Boom. Conservationist born.

Now, when I step onto a piece of public land, no matter the state, I feel the same sense of freedom and connection to our natural world that I uncovered in the backcountry of Idaho. I make a conscious effort to protect these once viewed “poor man’s lands”, as I’ve learned how fragile their existence truly is. I’ve found my voice as a public lands advocate and wildlife conservationist, and as a member of Artemis, I’ve found a community of folks who are fighting the good fight right along side me.